Location: marengo, il, United States

Sunday, July 09, 2006


DIDGERYDOO/SINGER: Hmmm-chirp-hmmm-chirp-hmmm-wow-hmmm-chirp-hmmm-ooooo

NARRATOR: I woke up that morning to find myself laying in a pool of warm sweat. My back felt clammy but hot; vaguely like I had been placed on a bed made up of many pins and prickly needles. My brain felt as if a wildfire raged uncontrollably inside my aching skull, burning away layer upon layer of all its dense growth, and the whole world felt feverish.

EFX: (echoes) Feverish-Feverish-Feverish

OCARINA: (theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) One-two-one-two-one

DIDGERYDOO: Hmmm-hmmm-hmmm

NARRATOR: I though for a while my body might eventually explode from this devilish heat. My two legs began to jerk and dance spasmodically, like limp slices of bacon placed on the surface of a hot grill in some early-morning diner in the center of Hades.

SFX: (Bacon sizzles and pops)

NARRATOR: Before the sun would rise on that very dark day, I would soon learn that I had come down with a bad case of …

EFX: (bass voice) …THE FEVER!

DIDGERYDOO/SINGER: Hmmm-hmmm-yip-yip-ooooo

NARRATOR: Yes, I had felt the germ of an original idea welling up in my head. I could feel my tiny intruder twisting and squirming as the thing expanded and grew, and I even felt the entity bump and knock against the inside of my skull…

SFX: (Marble landing and rolling around in an empty bucket)

NARRATOR: …struggling as it staggered to stand alone. I fanned my covers madly, trying to dry the dampness that had by now settled over my hot-and-sticky torso. I envisioned heat waves dancing seductively among the shadows that lived along side me in that darkened room on that early summer morn. I laid still and waited for this fragile idea to blossom, and then burst forth from its womb.

SFX: (Build-up to an explosive sneeze) Ahchoo!

ARLO: It sure is a frosty one this morning.

GUTHRIE: (shivering) Yep, it is.

(both men stomp their feet and slap their gloves together) ARLO: What time does that bus usually stop here?

GUTHRIE: Oh, it should be coming along any second now.

ARLO: Well, there she is yonder.

(an approaching motor coach slows down; airbrakes hiss)

NARRATOR: Hoohooville is a very silly place. The people who live in Hoohooville can be fine or short, light or cross, totally unwired, unbridled, unfenced, and at times, appear completely unvarnished -- depending on any given mood, no matter the hour of any day, or the individual season, for that matter. Sometimes the silly things they do are worth repeating, and occasionally songs are even composed about their misadventures. (trumpet fanfare) There was once a pretty young woman who lived all alone in a nice house at the very far edge of Hoohooville. She always arose early to prepare for the day job she held across town.

WOMAN: (yawns, stretches and smacks lips)

NARRATOR: One bright and crisp December morning came with a slight amount of warmth in the winter’s air, so rather than drive her car, she opted to walk a foot path which followed close to the edge of a near-by frozen pond. The woman was ever so happy to do so, thinking it would certainly help save the planet’s valuable resources. Besides, the ten-minute exercise could help her stay young and pretty.

WOMAN: (singing gaily as she crunches over a thin layer of snow) La-la La-la-la

NARRATOR: She had taken only a few steps that chilled day when she spied a colorful object laying directly across her path.


NARRATOR: It dazzled her eyes in the sunlight, looking like a string of brightly-colored jewels, so of course she stopped to inspect it.

WOMAN: Oh, my! What do we have here?

NARRATOR: Each cloud of her breath hung in momentary measures in front of her lovely face before being whisked away to vanish forever. At her feet lay a gorgeous but half-frozen snake. The creature appeared stunned and unmoving.

WOMAN: Oh, my stars!

NARRATOR: So she bent over to pick the creature up. The snake lay limp and stilled in her warm hands, but it was able to look up at her and speak slightly above a hoarse whisper.

SNAKE: Take me home, pretty woman.

NARRATOR: The woman felt a deep sorrow quickly rise from within her bosom.

WOMAN: You poor, frightened thing, you. Just look at the shape you are in here. I will. I will take you home right now and warm you up, you beautiful snake, because you are going to just die out here in this cold, cold climate.

Take me home, pretty woman Take me home, for Heaven’s sake Take me home, pretty woman, cried the snake

NARRATOR: And so she did. After work that day, the pretty young woman rushed home (running footsteps) to see if her snake had recovered. (Door opens) And there, laying in a box set in a sunlit corner, she saw her charming snake coiled upon a fresh and clean red-and-white checkered blanket which she had provided earlier. He grinned up at her attractive features.

SNAKE: I feel so much better now.

NARRATOR: The young woman’s heart melted at the sight.


SNAKE: So come over here and give me a big hug, and let me thank you in a proper way.

NARRATOR: She ran across the room, scooped up the lively snake, and prepared to kiss it square on the lips when the snake gave her a sudden, vicious bite. The pretty woman then screamed as she dropped the venomous reptile on the floor by her feet. It slithered backwards ever so slightly, wound itself into another tight coil, and then stared up at her coldly, but with a frozen grin.

WOMAN: Why did you do such a thing to me after all I did for you? Did you not know that I will now die?

SNAKE: Oh, shut up silly woman. I am a snake after all; that is what snakes do.

Take me home, pretty woman Take me home, for Heaven’s sake Take me home, pretty woman, cried the snake

DIDGERYDOO/SINGER: Hmmm-hmmm-yip-yippee-ooooo

ARLO: What time you get off work?

GUTHRIE: Same time as always.

ARLO: Want to grab a beer after?

GUTHRIE: I would, but the wife wants me to get the rest of her storm windows up.

ARLO: You only got another month before spring. Might as well let them go.

GUTHRIE: Don’t tempt me.

The author now gladly doffs his hat, and hereby wishes to acknowledge the true source of this unlikely tale. Oscar Brown Jr. first sang The Snake on his album, OSCAR BROWN JR. TELLS IT LIKE IT IS! (Columbia, 1963).


Anonymous Ned said...

Well, being as I am, what first comes to mind is "no good deed goes unpunished" and possibly her good deeds are too numerous, what with saving the earth from pollution and frozen snakes and all. Thank goodness I am never tempted to do good deeds.

I never adjust my car clock for the end of daylight saving time but drive all winter with the clock an hour ahead and mentally adjust for the real time. People ask why I don't fix it and I tell them "I'll just have to do it all over again in April". Besides, summertime is the time I choose to pretend to live in,

6:47 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

I do like a good didgeridoo. And even better is an attempt to describe its sound in words (something I'd run a mile from). Interesting post, Harry, if a bit confusing. I get the main story about the woman and the snake but I'm still wondering how Arlo and Guthrie became involved. But they do say you can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant...

12:39 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Your mind works in wonderfully mysterious ways, Ned.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Fools rush in, they say. And since I never got the hang of making farting sounds inside a long tube sound as sweet as those who do, I typed what I heard.

Hearing is key to understanding this entire bit, Gone. If you were to close your eyes and sit back to listen, you would be drawn into a past world, void of everything except voice and other sounds, and of course, your active imagination. Keep in mind that certain instructions and names seen here would be kept out of the audio version. We had another name for that world back then, which evades me in this one.

A. and his pal G. only had small roles to play in this short piece, but significant. Think of them as effective bookends, perhaps?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Suddenly I know what you mean! There was a time I lay in a hospital bed, feeling as nauseous as a... as a... as a really nauseous thing, and someone gave me a present to cheer me up. It was a child's book (appropriate, since that is what I was - a child) and it had a cover of lime green. To this day I cannot see that shade without feeling decidedly queasy...

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

.oO(He thinks my mind works in mysterious ways...hmmm...)

8:23 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Okay. Now I have absolutely no idea what that means, Gone.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

In which case, I'm also in the dark! Let me try to explain what I see. At first there is fever (all the heat and sweating and a germ of an idea); voices drift through the dream (A & G) and then the song of the Snake plays and becomes the story, finally to be replaced by the voices rounding everything off. It reminded me of that time in hospital when things happen around you but you are still somehow detached from it all.

Well, that's what I thought it was about...

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

.oO(I am too young to remember radio...)

9:41 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Aha! Now I get your vivid dreamacape/Dahli observation. Not bad; not bad at all. I certainly see how you came up with that, too, from a personal bout I had with ether.

However, think radio transcript here. At least that is what I was thinking while tacking this one together.

The fact that I never saw a radio transcript in either my right mind or in a dream state is of no importance to me at all, keep in mind, but even so, I did hope the ball swung at wildly would land a bit closer to the hole than it did.

Fail more. Fail better, sayeth the Beckett.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I hope you cannot remember radio, your wonderful-working mindness, for I am too tired now to be able to imagine a wrinkled Ned.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

The strange thing is, I do remember radio in my own way. As a child and even older, I listened with my dad to tapes of Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Burns & Allen and the like. I watched old movies all day on Saturdays - on small independent TV stations where all they show is old movies. I listened to Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, I experienced WWII through its music (some of the greatest music of the century).

There's a wonderful thing to be said of having an older parent. It helps you see into generations that otherwise would be nothing but bland and boring history to you.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

He seems like a wise and loving man, your father. What sort of parents would deprive their children of such experience of thought as radio?

The old shows, by the names you mentioned, Ned, flood me with even more great memories.

One note: As a child, I used to think that all of those exciting dramas, westerns, detective series and comedy acts, along with all of their wild and wacky sound-effects originated out of near-by Savannah, Georgia. Somehow I managed to survive devastating culture shock after moving to Texas at the age of ten, and discovering the very same programs were broadcast there too. But then we got a seductive teevee.

10:01 AM  

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